After a successful (and fun!) 12 months here in The Lab, last week we reached that time of year again where we all put down our pens, locked up the office, and excitedly headed out for our Christmas party. As always, all the details were kept resolutely under wraps by our in-house and highly secretive elves, so with no clue where the day would take us, we arrived bright and early at London Bridge station, and sporting our very best selection of Christmas jumpers, jumped on a train going ‘somewhere’ ready for whatever our elves had in store...
After waving goodbye to the hustle and bustle of London, we sped further and further into the countryside, at once arriving at the little town of Edenbridge in Kent. A short taxi ride later and we found ourselves winding down a tree-lined driveway up to our home for the night, the most magical Victorian vicarage straight out of a storybook, where our elves had been hard at work adding a sprinkle of Christmas magic.
With drinks in hand we gathered around the crackling fire, as our magical day full of surprises started to unfold before us. With everything from a Shakin Stevens tribute act performing on the lawn, with snow actually “falling all around us”, naturally, to, of course, a visit from Santa, it’s fair to say that our party planning elves once again had not let us down. Santa, who delivered us all personalised stockings with hand-selected books from our local charity shop, even tried to get in on thelab_ action with his own business proposal - SantaLab (we’ll keep you updated with any progress on this one…).
After a deliciously cooked family Christmas dinner, with all the trimmings (expertly carved by our very own Greg and Ashleigh), we all bundled up for a crisp country walk in the direction of - where else - but the local pub, which happened to be the cutest little pub you ever did see. As everyone got cosy, and whilst mutterings were spreading around the pub asking the question ‘is this the final destination in our festive story?!’, we soon realised that the biggest surprise was yet to be revealed, as through a puff of smoke and a cloud of glitter our very own Fairy Godmother entered, announcing that we all ‘shall go to the ball’!
Stepping outside we were greeted by a horse and carriage straight out of a fairytale (along with a few taxis...), waiting to transport us to our final destination - the very magical Chiddingstone Castle. However, as we’d turned up in our ‘country walk’ attire, wellies and all, much like Cinderella we were faced with the dilemma as old as time: “we have nothing to wear!” But, of course, this had been taken care of! We were quickly ushered through to a room full of themed fancy dress outfits, with one allocated to each Labber (with everything from ballgowns to the ‘ugly sisters’, it’s safe to say, some people lucked out more than others). So, with a quick wave of the wand later, we were all ready for the ball…
And of course, as any reliable Prince Charming will tell you, a ball is nothing without dancing! And so, to the delight of all (especially our Scottish contingent) Ceilidh dancing was the agenda, led by the very talented and patient Shipsters, who did an incredible job at making us move as in time as possible and in a way that vaguely resembled the dance. Safe to say that there may not be many future professional Ceilidh dancers amongst us, but we gave it all our best shot and got a good work out in the process. Special thanks also goes out to the Bumper Bars crew for keeping us all going!
After a fun-filled and magical evening we all headed back to the house, where we danced the night away / dozed off in front of the fire. All in all everyone had an absolute ball, and, of course, none of this would have been possible without all the hard work of our head elves, assistant elves, and everyone else who offered a festive helping hand.